As a food services business, we acknowledge our obligation to consider our practices to create sustainable products and reduce our waste and usage of resources.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In 2020, we committed to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. We have selected the most relevant SDGs to our business and where we can make the biggest contribution. In 2022, management and the Social and Ethics Committee approved targets for each SDG. In 2023, we integrated these into our business targets and are reporting our progress against achieving these.

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Read more about our sustainability performance in 2023.

Plastic waste reduction and recycling initiatives.

All Famous Brands brand packaging ranges are 100% recyclable1, and work is underway to accelerate the conversion to biodegradable and compostable packaging where possible.

We regularly examine and adapt the brand packaging materials to align with best practice benchmarks. This includes considering bulk packaging rather than single packaging options and replacing plastic with more eco-friendly solutions.

In 2019, Famous Brands implemented a packaging initiative to provide better, more environmentally friendly packaging across the brands. These improvements have seen Famous Brand reduce plastic consumption by 108.9 tonnes per year. Further successes include:

  • Our Logistics division no longer stocks plastic straws.
  • All brands have removed single-use black plastic cutlery and replaced this with wooden cutlery that is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable.
  • All plastic straws were removed from the SA and UK restaurants and replaced with paper straws. This was implemented in 2019 and resulted in a plastic reduction of 80 tonnes per year.
  • In the Manufacturing division, we have stopped shrink-wrapping products, reducing plastic waste and eliminating electricity previously used.
  • All Leading Brands restaurants have removed polystyrene and now offer recyclable take away packaging.
  • Eliminated balloons in Debonairs Pizza, Fishaways, Wimpy SA and AME restaurants. Wimpy UK is in the process of removing balloons with the aim of eliminating these by December 2023.
  • In 2023, Wimpy removed the single-use plastic outer wrapping from their coffee biscuits.
  • Mugg & Bean discontinued their takeaway box with a plastic insert and replace this with a polylactic acid-lined cardboard box.
  • In October 2022, Fishaways and Wimpy replaced the plastic salad container with a polylactic acid liner container with a plastic window, removing 7.9 tonnes of plastic per year. This has resulted in a plastic reduction of four tonnes per annum.
  • The polyethylene-lined hot coffee cup changed to a polylactic acid-lined cup across all brands with the exception of Fego Caffé. These are eco-friendly as they are recyclable and biodegradable.

Extended Producer Responsibility

In May 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment introduced Section 18 Extended Producer Responsibility regulations as part of the Waste Act. These regulations aim to ensure that producers take greater responsibility for the lifecycle of their products, including post-consumption waste disposal. The aim is that more waste will be diverted from landfills, and recycling and other circular economy activities will be supported.

The Group has registered with several producer responsibility organisations that manage the Extended Producer Responsibility schemes for various packaging schemes and are 100% compliant with Section 18 requirements as legislated by the department.

South Africa Food Loss and Waste Agreement

Famous Brands became a core signatory to the South Africa Food Loss and Waste Agreement in 2021. This agreement was developed by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. As a signatory, our commitments include the following:

  • Contribute to achieving the SDG target 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”.
  • Adopt the food utilisation hierarchy, which prioritises increased food utilisation and waste reduction, and redistributing edible, nutritious surplus food for human consumption and creating secondary markets for surplus food while considering food safety. Confidentially report our annual quantities of food waste and quantities diverted to food surplus redistribution, according to the agreed reporting protocol.

Our efforts are focused on the following:

  • Reducing food waste in our Manufacturing division by 50% by 2030.
  • Identifying food loss and waste arising from our operations and isolating the underlying causes.
  • Ensuring that food safety is maintained at every level.
  • Supporting our non-profit partner SA Harvest to redistribute edible surplus food to those in need.

We have an established partnership with the charitable organisation SA Harvest whose mission is to end hunger in South Africa. This relationship began during the pandemic when Famous Brands management worked closely with the organisation to re-distribute stock that our hibernated operations could not use. We continue to work with them and other non-profits to distribute food close to its expiry date.